Cyprus’ airports experienced a promising first half of 2023 as passenger traffic soared, marking a remarkable 3 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

Hermes Airports, the company tasked with managing Cyprus’ two international airports, on Wednesday, released an announcement detailing the successful, ongoing recovery of the air travel sector.

With a total of 4,808,431 passengers, the country’s aviation sector showcased resilience and an impressive rebound.

During the January-June 2023 period, Larnaca airport welcomed 3,252,612 passengers, while Paphos airport received 1,555,819 passengers, demonstrating robust travel demand and revitalised air connectivity.

“Undoubtedly, the country’s connectivity remains at the core of our strategy as it is the driving force of tourism,” Maria Kouroupi, Senior Manager of Aviation Development and Communication of Hermes Airports stated.

“The summer schedule of both Larnaca and Paphos airports offers passengers more options and a wide range of destinations,” she added.

What is more, the company noted that the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe recognised Cyprus’ airports as frontrunners in the recovery race, as they achieved full restoration of their total air connectivity, comprising both direct and indirect routes, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

This achievement is particularly remarkable considering the loss of the Russian and Ukrainian markets, which previously contributed over 20 per cent of the total passenger traffic.

However, the development of existing markets, with some of them experiencing growth rates exceeding 50 per cent compared to 2019, has successfully managed to offset this decline.

In addition, the addition of new markets, including France and Italy, has made a significant impact on the airports’ recovery.

Furthermore, according to the announcement, during the first half of 2023, the top five markets at Cyprus’ airports were the United Kingdom, Greece, Israel, Poland, and Germany, with Austria, Romania, Hungary, Armenia, and France completing the top ten.

This diverse range of destinations highlights the country’s appeal to various nationalities and underscores its successful efforts in attracting a wide range of travellers.

Moreover, Hermes Airports’ strategic focus on route development and airline support played a crucial role in achieving this positive outcome, the company explained.

Collaborating with 55 airlines operating flights to and from Larnaca and Paphos airports, the company currently offers 155 routes to 39 countries.

To meet the growing demand, new routes have already been launched for the summer season, and early data suggests that passenger traffic is on track to approach pre-pandemic levels witnessed in 2019.

“Based on the data so far, Cyprus has the potential to achieve year-round tourism, as this winter has exceeded all expectations,” Kouroupi explained.

“Therefore, we should use this positive momentum and the increasing flow of tourists to further strengthen our presence in new markets,” she concluded.

According to estimates, every additional flight that lands at Cypriot airports generates approximately 100 new job opportunities.

Currently, Larnaca and Paphos International Airports jointly account for over 18,000 job positions, covering roles within the airports themselves and the broader tourism industry in Cyprus.

The substantial economic significance of these airports is further emphasised by their annual financial contribution, amounting to around 4 per cent of Cyprus’ GDP.

This sizeable input has firmly established the two airports as essential driving forces for the country’s economic growth.